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Delawyering traditional marriage supporters

Delawyering traditional marriage supporters

The tradition of lawyers representing politically unpopular clients and positions has been lost in the process.

Joan Biskupic writing for Reuters reports on the fear in the legal community that has caused large law firms to refuse to take on clients who support keeping the “one man, one woman” definition of marriage, U.S. law firms flock to gay-marriage proponents, shun other side (h/t @AdamLiptak):

As U.S. lawsuits seeking gay-marriage rights move toward a likely showdown at the Supreme Court next year, major law firms are rushing to get involved — but only on the side of the proponents.

A Reuters review of more than 100 court filings during the past year shows that at least 30 of the country’s largest firms are representing challengers to state laws banning same-sex marriage. Not a single member of the Am Law 200, a commonly used ranking of the largest U.S. firms by revenue, is defending gay marriage prohibitions.

These numbers and interviews with lawyers on both sides suggest that the legal industry has reached its Mozilla moment. The software company’s CEO, Brendan Eich, resigned in April after being denounced by gay marriage supporters for a donation he had made in support of California’s since-overturned gay marriage ban. Now in a similar vein, attorneys at major law firms are getting the message that if they want to litigate against gay marriage they should do so elsewhere.

None of this will come as a surprise to Legal Insurrection readers.

We wrote in April 2011, how the large law firm of King & Spalding withdrew its representation of the House of Representatives on the DOMA litigation after the Human Rights Campaign started contacting King & Spalding clients unrelated to the litigation,  and threats were made to hold protests at clients’ offices.  King & Spalding did not, however, simultaneously drop its representation of radical Islamic Gitmo detainees who promote societies that treat women and gays as subhuman.

I wrote at the time that there was A Hostile Environment For Pro-Traditional Marriage Views At King & Spalding, such that the expression of any contrary view was a potential career ender.  We now know how true that can be, as the Brendan Eich case demonstrated.

When Obama “evolved” to support gay marriage, it enabled groups like HRC to really take the gloves off by defining pro-traditional marriage supporters as inherently bigoted, and their lawyers not as people who disagree as to constitutional law but as unworthy of hire even by clients unrelated to the marriage issue.

I wrote at the time that the Most important legacy of Obama’s gay marriage switch was freeing Dems to play the “bigot card”:

I can’t say I’m surprised it came to threats from the Mayors of Boston and Chicago, and a Chicago Alderman, to deny Chick-fil-A a business permit because the owners support the traditional definition of marriage as one man – one woman. Or that two other Mayors, in San Francisco and D.C., have jumped on the bandwagon telling Chick-fil-A to stay out of town.

So long as Obama supported the traditional definition of marriage, Democratic politicians and support groups had to tread carefully in how far their rhetoric and actions went. Once Obama came out in support of gay marriage, Democrats were freed to accuse anyone and everyone who supports the traditional definition of marriage as bigoted and unworthy of a place in their jurisdictions.

As Biskupic further reports, HRC is very proud that it has been able to effectively delawyer the opposition of top tier representation:

“Fear is a healthy motivator to do the right thing,” said Fred Sainz, a spokesman for the Human Rights Campaign. “I’m not suggesting that the other side shouldn’t have attorneys. I’m saying we’re going to judge those attorneys.”

Biskupic quotes the resignation letter of Paul Clement, the King & Spalding partner who resigned from the firm rather than acquiesce in dropping representation of the House on DOMA under such pressure:

In his resignation letter, which was made public, Clement said he acted “out of the firmly-held belief that representation should not be abandoned because the client’s legal position is extremely unpopular in certain quarters. Defending unpopular positions is what lawyers do.”

Defending unpopular clients and legal positions is what lawyers used to do. Now legal representation of unpopular conservative or religious clients is subjected to political litmus tests applied on no other issues.

Represent a murderer? No problem. Represent Gitmo Jihadists? Sure thing.

Represent someone who disagrees with the trending political wisdom as to the interpretation of the Constitution as relates to gay marriage? Your unrelated clients will be harassed, your law firm disrupted, and your practice destroyed.

I understand why HRC celebrates such damage to the legal community and the tradition of representing unpopular clients and legal positions.

I don’t understand why the legal community let it happen with nary a whimper.


Donations tax deductible
to the full extent allowed by law.


I like the FIRE model.

Maybe it’s time to form a network of attorneys around the country who are ready to take on these and other cases.

I’m down for it…

Part of the problem here in Florida is that The Florida Bar strongly supports “diversity”, and in numerous ways has taken or implied the position that representing the opposition in connection with lobbying or cases that would make law is tantamount to advocating for discrimination. (Note their distinction between “making law” and representing unpopular individuals with legal problems, i.e. defending unpopular people versus unpopular ideas.)

Islamic Gitmo detainees who promote societies that treat women and gays as subhuman.

Well, they have a point; in a real sense, the women & gays WaGs aren’t subhuman, but they are enemies. Once they get a toehold, they’ll play merry hell with any society’s legal system … as we all know. I can’t really fault reactionary Muslim societies for wanting to avoid that mess – if they just follow the news about what it’s doing to Western law and society, they’ll get all the entertainment without bearing any of the costs.

DINORightMarie | June 10, 2014 at 2:54 pm

John Adams represented the British soldiers in the Boston Massacre, and suffered huge push-back for it.

But people in the colonies back then had principles, and the both understood and accepted that everyone deserves to have a fair trial, regardless of the unpopularity of the defendant(s).

We are no longer that nation, not morally, not ideologically, not theologically.

The Constitutional Republic won’t be able to stand much more of this………

Donald Douglas | June 10, 2014 at 4:14 pm

Great post.

William, if you haven’t yet, snag a copy of Barry Rubin’s “Silent Revolution: How the Left Rose to Political Power and Cultural Dominance.”

I’m reading it now. Rubin details exactly how the left has developed and deployed campaigns of intimidation and destruction just like HRC’s noted above:

This is the most concise, lucid description of the modern left yet available in print. I’ll blog it when I’m through, which should be soon, like tomorrow or the next day. I’m zipping through it, it’s so good!

Is there any way to expand the rest of the sign? I don’t want to omit any deserving businesses from my new “Favorite Vendors” list. I think I’ll go out and use my new Black and Decker weed trimmer right now….

i am not aware of ANYbody…straight, gay, or otherwise…who is seeking to end “traditional” marriages.
men and women are as free to marry each other as they have ever been. gay folks also having the opportunity to name their legal spouse takes away nothing from anybody else’s marriage.

    nordic_prince in reply to el polacko. | June 10, 2014 at 6:13 pm

    If you really believe that, then you must also believe that allowing counterfeit money in circulation takes nothing away from anyone else’s money….

    …and having knockoff designer clothes, handbags, etc. in no way detracts from the real deal….

    Try again – your argument just doesn’t fly ~

      platypus in reply to nordic_prince. | June 11, 2014 at 4:32 pm

      Actually, counterfeit money stopped affecting lawful money the instant the Bernank started creating money out of thin air. As a matter of fact, no counterfeiter has ever printed anywhere near as much currency as Helicopter Ben.

      Legally, there is no discernible difference between the two in my opinion.

    Juba Doobai! in reply to el polacko. | June 10, 2014 at 6:19 pm

    The stated goal of homosexual activists is to end traditional marriage and restructure the shape of the family and the society. Other than that, they say they have no interest in marriage itself. It is merely a tool to create destruction. When your culture is big into the hedonism of anonymous bangfests, even with the existence of a “significant other”, marriage is limiting.

    Radegunda in reply to el polacko. | June 10, 2014 at 6:25 pm

    It takes away “bride” and “groom,” leaving “Party A” and Party B.” It takes away “mother” and “father,” leaving “Parent no.1” and “Parent no. 2.” It endorses the deliberate robbing of children of their natural right to a mother and a father. In many cases it requires single individuals to subsidize benefits for even more people who are fully capable of supporting themselves (and live in two-income households).

    And as we’ve seen, it coerces everyone not only to recognize but to actively support the weird notion that a relationship between two men or two women is exactly the same as what has been known as “marriage” in every known human society since prehistory. It creates the preposterous rule that simply saying it’s a different kind of relationship meriting different treatment by the government and society is beyond the pale and grounds for professional termination and social ostracizing.

    Even where gay individuals have gotten all the practical benefits of marriage in the form of registered domestic partnerships — which gay activists swore up and down was all they would ever want — they quickly demanded that it had to be legally (and culturally) swept into the definition of “marriage.”

    At that point, the goal was clearly not to gain any “rights” or benefits, but to redefine marriage — to deconstruct it. It’s no coincidence that the most ardent advocates of gay “marriage” have mostly been people who (until recently, at least) didn’t attach much importance to marriage. Some have stated outright that their real goal is to abolish marriage altogether.

      Juba Doobai! in reply to Radegunda. | June 11, 2014 at 12:12 am

      You did a fine comprehensive job here.

      rotate in reply to Radegunda. | June 12, 2014 at 9:07 am

      What they want is for homosexuality to be considered normal, just as normal as heterosexuality. Many polls show 50% support of SSM but only 20% support homosexual sex. Go figure? If gays are married, just like heteros, eventually it will be seen as normal which is their true objective. And further many gays want to be able to have sex with straights. They lament the fact that straights would also like to but are worried they would be called gay so they rebuff such advances. Articles are written about this. The Atlantic has one about “what if it(homosexual preference) is a choice, so what?” It’s all about normalizing any sexual activity. Also there is a push to lower the age of consent so younger and younger kids are legal for sex.
      Call me a bigot I DON’T CARE anymore.

    Milwaukee in reply to el polacko. | June 10, 2014 at 11:28 pm

    The Catholic Church teaches, and has always taught, that same-sex acts are fundamentally disordered, whether it be man-and-man or woman-and-woman. Legalizing marriage gives gays the power to go after Christians. Witness the Christian cake baker in Colorado. My guess is that some level those going after Christians are seeking to silence the disapproval, which isn’t going to happen.

Not A Member of Any Organized Political | June 10, 2014 at 6:21 pm

This actually constitutes legal grounds for lawsuits against their clearly discriminating bigotry.

“i am not aware of ANYbody…straight, gay, or otherwise…who is seeking to end “traditional” marriages.”

So-called gay marriage won’t end heterosexual marriages, but it will change the meaning, symbolism, and purpose of the social institution of marriage. It will change how people think about marriage.

Traditional marriage is all about regulating heterosexual behavior in order to benefit the children that may be created through the union of man and woman. It contains the values, symbols, and ideals that tell heterosexuals how they should behave. Traditional marriage is defined around coitus, the unique act in which man and woman literally become one flesh and through which new life can be created — the sole act by which a marriage is “consummated.”

Including same-sex couples changes traditional man-woman marriage into what some people call “degendered” marriage. Degendered marriage will be THE institution of marriage. In degendered marriage there is no procreative orientation. Instead, the purpose of degendered marriage is to grant various legal and financial benefits and privileges to married couples. It is primarily about the desires of adults, not about the welfare of children. Even when same-sex couples have children in the home, such an arrangement is only possible because there is a missing biological parent. Thus marriage will cease to symbolize the importance of children being reared by parents of both genders.

Only a few years ago such things were taken for granted as a matter of common sense; same-sex “marriage” was literally unthinkable. Now, if you perceive the simple truth that marriage is a heterosexual institution you’ve suddenly become a “bigot.”

    Radegunda in reply to siguiriya. | June 10, 2014 at 9:06 pm

    “Only a few years ago such things were taken for granted …” Indeed, which is why it’s so cynical for gay-marriage advocates to talk about a “ban” on the practice as though something were being taken away, or to argue that such a “ban” is unconstitutional because the Constitution doesn’t define the institution as heterosexual. Never mind that essentially no one thought of it any other way until very recently.

    Another trick employed is to talk about the “rights” of “gay couples,” so if a certain “couple” can’t have a legally recognized marriage, they’re being denied “rights” that heterosexual couples have. But couples don’t have rights. Individuals do. Homosexuals have always had the same right to marriage as heterosexuals do; they have just preferred not to participate in it – just as some heterosexuals also choose not to. And for many heterosexual individuals who do wish to exercise that right, chance and circumstances thwart their wishes. People don’t get everything they want in life, and society is not obligated to endorse and celebrate the commitment of any given individual to another.

    Juba Doobai! in reply to siguiriya. | June 11, 2014 at 12:22 am

    Beautifully said.

    Nobody in the policy making business is willing to laugh in the face of homosexuals and say there is no right to marriage.

    Some pastors who have homosexual children, instead of instructing their children into celibacy that is God-pleasing, abandon the Bible and claim that homosexuality is approved of God. Some have, like the Baptist pastor in I forget what state, have had their congregation follow them into this heresy. They shall have their reward, these wolves in sheep clothing who turn the truth of God into a lie and uphold the deed that God says is worthy of death.

    They will find out, to their great hurt, that God is not Santa Claus and He will kill the unrepentant. (Just read Leviticus.)

    Milwaukee in reply to siguiriya. | June 11, 2014 at 12:31 am

    Degendered marriage will be THE institution of marriage. In degendered marriage there is no procreative orientation. Instead, the purpose of degendered marriage is to grant various legal and financial benefits and privileges to married couples. It is primarily about the desires of adults, not about the welfare of children.

    Should we that the 1930 Lambeth Conference of Anglicans for deciding that sex had be recreational instead of procreational or Martin Luther and John Calvin for decreeing marriage wasn’t a Sacrament instituted by Christ?

Use the RICO statute to prosecute gay activists, such as the HRC.


If government wasn’t in the business of marriage this wouldn’t even be an issue. Unfortunately a lot of voters believe their marriage is can only be consecrated with the blessing of the State… it’s a very unfortunate and ironic situation.

    Juba Doobai! in reply to Vince. | June 11, 2014 at 12:24 am

    It would be an issue still because some “churches” are very nominally Christian and pick and choose what they will abide by in the Bible.

      Vince in reply to Juba Doobai!. | June 11, 2014 at 2:28 am

      CHOOSE ANOTHER CHURCH! Good grief. There are a lot of churches out there… some very very liberal and others very conservative. Where you marry is YOUR CHOICE.

      What does government have to do with your marriage? They shouldn’t be involved IMHO.

    Sian in reply to Vince. | June 12, 2014 at 3:57 pm

    The government shouldn’t be involved one way or the other. Unfortunately for one reason or another, they are deeply involved, and unwinding that is a total mess.

JackRussellTerrierist | June 11, 2014 at 4:21 am

Doing business with Mormons is a one-way street – they sell, you buy, and their various scams are heavily protected and shrouded by UT incorporation. They won’t buy from any entity that isn’t Mormon, and one of their goals is to scam any gentiles they can.

That said, they are right in their position here and I would be pleased to see them do something worthwhile for a change. I hope they get and keep the good representation their position deserves.

It is apparent that you don’t understand most lawyers, they are in it for their radical left-wing agenda, not legal principles. They are communists. You should not be surprised.

theBuckWheat | June 12, 2014 at 9:40 am

Because we have allowed government to define “marriage” for its own purposes (such as taxation and regulation of estates), we have allowed government to define marriage as a social institution. That was fine as long as people in control of government were generally supportive of God’s original definition of marriage. However we have entered a time when a growing number of people in control of government are willing to redefine marriage for their own purposes, which in part is contrary to God’s definition.

Marriage is now far more a matter of politics and ideology than of private religious beliefs.

Therefore, for the sake of marriage as God defines it, it is time to remove from government the power to define who is married and who is not. Then gays could form whatever relationships they please but they could not force those who disagree to be enablers for those relationships. And we would not have schools that must teach that homosexual “marriages” are just as legitimate as heterosexual ones. Nor would we have owners of wedding photography services being threatened with arrest and being convicted of a crime for merely declining to artfully photograph a “marriage” they find morally repugnant.